The Baltic Sea Fisheries Forum (BALTFISH) is a regional body providing a platform for discussion on important fisheries issues in the Baltic Sea. BALTFISH is based on the regionalisation of the EU Common Fisheries Policy as referred to in the Basic Regulation and its main objective is to promote cooperation among fisheries administrations and other key stakeholders in developing sustainable fisheries in the Baltic Sea region.
The BALTFISH forum involves all the eight EU member states bordering the Baltic Sea and functions on two levels: a high-level group (HLG) level consisting of fisheries directors and representatives of the European Commission and the BALTFISH forum seminar level consisting of officials of the EU Member States and European Commission, as well as representatives from organisations such as BSRAC, ICES and HELCOM.
The Baltic Sea Fisheries Forum was initiated in 2009 as a flagship project under the BSRS PA 9. The chairmanship of BALTFISH rotates among the eight EU member states in 12-month periods, starting on the 1st of July. Each chair country provides an indicative list of issues to be discussed during its year of presidency. The BALTFISH forum meetings were initiated in June 2010 with Sweden as the first Chair, followed by Finland, Estonia, Latvia etc.
The actions of BALTFISH include inter alia contribution to the development of a roadmap for eliminating cod discards in the Baltic Sea, contribution to the development of AQUABEST, a project on aquaculture, and agreeing on the content of other flagship projects regarding fisheries. The Forum has also among other issues discussed the discard ban, TACs and quotas, multiannual management plans and the minimum conservation reference size (MCRS) of cod.